ELSA – take your future in your own hands!
By Natalia Buczek
Young Volunteer at ELSA
European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) is an international, independent, non-political, non-profit-making organization run by and for students. ELSA was founded in 1981 in Vienna by representative from Poland, Hungary, Austria and Germany. The organization was created to strengthen international relations and a better understanding in that time, which was difficult on political and legal field.
The idea of mutual cooperation and exchange of experience for law students underwent popularization and ELSA rapidly became a vast structure. ELSA spirit spread fastest in Scandinavia, and it was there, in Copenhagen and Helsinki, were the first international meeting. Over time, the organization needed a permanent place, so in 1984, established the first office in Oslo. In the mid-80s ELSA had nine permanent members and three observers. At that time, it established the International Board consisting of the President and three Vice-Presidents, each responsible for one of the programs (Scientific activities, seminars and conferences and Student Training Programme). In the ’90s, the time of political change in Europe, ELSA has entered a phase of development and forming the largest cooperation by increasing the number of members and observers to 30 International meetings held in the increasing number of group, evolved International Student Internship Program (STEP), increased the number of organized seminars and conferences. October 12, 1992 was based on a common philosophy for all countries based
on the vision:
“Just a world where is respect for human dignity and cultural diversity.”
In 2006, ELSA pompously celebrated its 25th anniversary. During this half-century, we have become a recognized brand, not only in the legal profession, not only in Europe but throughout the world. The organization continues to grow, in March 2009, we expanded our circle of four new members: ELSA The United Kingdom, Luxembourg ELSA, ELSA Armenia and ELSA Bosnia and Herzegovina. Poland since the foundation of the organization is one of the most active countries. In 2010, there were 42 ELSA National Group and worked on more than 200 law schools. This year is one of the most important in the history of ELSA, because we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the uprising. On this occasion, held in Poznan Jubilee celebrations of the 30th anniversary combined with XL ELSA International Council Meeting. In May, another part of the jubilee events took place in Vienna. We still believe in the further evaluation of the organization and implementation of guiding us to the purpose, and above all the friendship, from which it all began.
We are present in almost all European countries, and through its activities and network of contacts throughout the world. National group of ELSA members and observers come from: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, ELSA co-operates with other student organizations around the world: the ILSA in North America, with ALSA in Japan, ALSA in Australia, ALSA in South Africa and AEJCI in Côte d’Ivoire.
ELSA is divided on local groups, depending of city. Each university has their own management but each cooperate with each other. We help law students to find their appointment, they can comprehensively develop and deal with a variety of tasks that prepare them for adult, professional life. We organize many competitions that allow students to exist in the local, national and international arena, and we help them also to find the practice as necessary to work in professional life. In recent years more and more popular among law students enjoy participating in moot court’ach – simulation trials. This form of competition and broaden their skills in law has its roots in Anglo-Saxon countries, where this is the way of the course in law school. The culmination of these activities are international competitions, to be attended by students from all over the globe. The process is similar to the procedures to be followed before international institutions, in cooperation with which they are organized. Their goal is to popularize knowledge on
resolving disputes before these institutions.
When you just start your adventure with studies and everything is new to you, you try to get to know the surroundings and the people around you. You try to find some things to do, something more than ordinary education in University. All of these feelings caught me, so I went to meet a group of Elsa, I thought ‘why not?’ I just wanted to see what is it and what it does. I came to the site dealing with marketing, which collect funds necessary for the existence of a local group. I met many wonderful and valuable people who gave me the opportunity to develop in many areas. I could work as a negotiator and organizer, I took part in the UNICEF’s action in raising money for charity, for Christmas gifts for children from orphanages, we organized a conferences on human rights in or country and abroad. It turned out that there were many people interested in this subject, many young people wanted to learn more about the observance and protection of human rights, both in our country and around the world. Elsa integrates all of members from the country and from all over Europe. We all have one vision and we try to do everything in order to spread it most intensely. “Just a world where is respect for human dignity and cultural diversity.”
This article was published on January 30th: School Day of Non-violence and Peace in Global Education Magazine